Warring spouses fight it out in state election

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The Independent US

It may be time to update the old American maxim that all politics is local. In the case of Linda Fischer, a Democrat representative in the state legislature in Missouri, it is a bit more than that. It is domestic – as in dispute, abuse and dysfunction.

Out of the blue she finds herself facing a potentially powerful Republican challenger for her seat, which she will be defending in November. The foe in question is her husband, John Fischer. It might be a vicious campaign. He filed to be a candidate three days after she filed for a court protection order against him last Friday.

Things in the Fischer home were bad enough to make even the US Congress seem convivial. In her court filing, Ms Fischer, 39, said her husband assaulted her trying to snatch a mobile phone from her. "John has made statements within the past week that after he gets done with me there won't be anything left but ashes," she added.

Mr Fischer, 51, now living in a caravan near by, denied manhandling anyone. "I have never abused my wife, ever," he told the AP news wire, saying he was willing to take a polygraph test to back up his statement. "I have never threatened my wife that she had to fear for her life."

If the leaders of both state parties would rather not have the Fischers project their marital dramas on to the election pitch this year, there isn't much they can do about it. Mr Fischer filed just before the deadline for candidates to present themselves. No one else is contesting the seat for the Republicans.

But he is unwilling to acknowledge that his decision to file to run as his wife's Republican opponent was motivated by spite. A retired forklift driver, he declared: "I'm standing up for people who lost their job. I don't think they're being represented fairly in this state because they do not take care of the working man."

If he wants to play it that way, his estranged wife, who is only in her first term in the state legislature, is ready for him. "It is a political campaign, and that's how I look at it," she said gamely.